Coming off her freshman year at the University of Arizona, Skylar Sieben will be representing Canada in her first high-level international games this summer.

Sieben is one of 41 athletes selected to represent our nation at the 2019 Summer Universiade (FISU) in Napoli, Italy, July 3-14. She'll be competing in the heptathlon, a track and field competition that combines seven events, 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200m, long jump, javelin throw and 800m. Bridget Deveau, of Halifax, NS, will also be representing Canada in the event. 

Photo/Ricky Martinez, University of ArizonaDedication and determination have paid off for the Cochrane High graduate. When she wasn’t studying at university, she was regularly training over three hours a day in a combination of track and field disciplines. She's proud of what she was has been able to accomplish and is thrilled to be representing Canada internationally.

“I’ve been working really hard all season, not necessarily with this goal in mind, but focusing more on my conference needs. It paid off and I had an amazing score which basically qualified me for this meet.”

Sieben started training in heptathlon events at a relatively young age and that has helped her development. Many athletes don't compete for heptathlon until they're older.

“Heptathlon is a thing that a lot of girls pick up later on,” she explains, “But I started in high school so I had a pretty good base.”

While many athletes have strong and weak events, Sieben says she is consistent in all of them and that has lead to solid scores. She’s also known for staying cool in competition and coming from behind because of her consistency.

Everyone has a favourite event or two and Sieben particularly enjoys javelin throw and hurdles.

Taking that next step to compete at the university level has seen her training intensify and she’s impressed with the coaching provided by the University of Arizona.

“I absolutely love the school, I love all my coaches and all the support staff.”

“It was definitely a heavier load compared to high school track and field. I find when I’m not in classes I’m doing something for track and field. That’s great because I absolutely love it.”

She returned home last week from Arizona and will be continuing her preparations for the university games in Calgary.

“There are good coaches here in Calgary that will set me up nicely for what I have coming this summer,” says Sieben.

She’s also waiting to see if she will be representing Canada in the U20 Pan-American Athletics Championships being hosted by Costa Rica, July 19-21.

"They’ll be announcing the team soon and I’m hoping I also get to go to that one."

The bi-annual World University Games is celebrating its 30th anniversary and will feature nearly 9,300 athletes and delegates from 128 countries.